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In the Wake of What Follows

Chapter Twenty-Three

"I'm really surprised at you, Hiei," Kurama mused. "You've grown quite fond of her."

"Hn," Hiei huffed, glaring at the fox. "I'm not fond of anything." His voice was threatening the fox to tease him once more. "Humans are weak," he spat. "I don't know how you could choose to live as one."

Kurama looked over Hiei, who still held a sleeping Terra in his arms. She didn't look well, pale and pasty, sweat clung her hair to her forehead, and she still shook every few moments. Kurama placed his medicine bag down and knelt by the pair.

"If this were Yusuke, you wouldn't have bothered to call me. More than that, had you called me, you wouldn't had attempted to burn the fever out."

"If this were Yusuke, he wouldn't be sick."

"Fine, Keiko then. You wouldn't have been concerned enough to take care of her." Hiei said nothing, but Kurama could feel the fire demon seething. Terra shivered and Kurama wondered if that was from the cold she felt when Hiei was angry. "I need you to let her go so I can take an accurate temperature."

Hiei consented, gently letting her fall back onto the bed and left the room completely.

"I just find it strange, is all," Kurama continued, knowing the fire demon could still hear him. "You were always so suspicious of her. And now you're nursing her fever." Kurama waited, but Hiei never returned. Still, he could feel the demon's energy. He wasn't so far away he couldn't be here any moment. "You know, you're not very different, the pair of you," he told the air. "Both of you came here suffering from great loss, and you've built these walls and you're struggling for a reason to live. You even have mirroring scars. The one when you were training under Mukuro and Shigure sliced you in half. Only part of you healed completely, but a scar still stretches across your side. On the opposite side, she bears a similar marking from the demon attack that brought her to us."

He sat in silence, placing a cool towel on Terra's forehead.

"It's interesting, isn't it? The way things come to be…"

X

When Terra awoke again, daylight was pouring into her room and Kurama was sitting by her side.

"Good to see you with the living," he chuckled.

"It wasn't that bad, was it?" Terra asked with a hoarse voice.

"Not terrible, but you fainted Sunday, and you're waking Tuesday."

Terra sat up, but much like the first time they met, Kurama gently forced her back down. She groaned and pushed the blanket off of her. She was drenched in a cold sweat and it was really uncomfortable. "I just wanna shower," she pleaded.

"Just rest a bit more, to ease my mind." She rolled her eyes at her doctor but consented. "How long have you been feeling ill?" he questioned.

Terra shrugged. "For a few days, I guess."

"I took your vitals when you were asleep," he told her. "Your blood sugar's extremely low, so is your iron level. What's your diet been lately?'

Again Terra shrugged. "I haven't been eating much. Rice and toast mostly." She bit her lip and looked away. "Genkai always yelled at me to eat. I guess without her, I forget easily."

Kurama sighed and stood up. "I'll get you some food. I think you've been taxing yourself since the funeral as well. I called Kuwabara and he said you've been training at all hours and hardly sleeping."

"Yeah, well, that's about it. Congratulations, I don't take care of myself."

"Terra."

She sat up despite Kurama's protests. In a moment she remembered her brief moments of being awake. "…Hiei?"

"Called me after putting you to bed when you fainted. He thought you might have a fever, but he can't check for that since his body is so much warmer than yours naturally. I told him to wait until you woke up, and then call me. And he did. He said you had a fever, and I told him to help burn it out. I hope you enjoyed it."

"Who would enjoy being sick?" Terra said, rubbing her eyes until her contacts came out.

She missed Kurama smirk.

"Just, sit tight, I'll make you a hearty lunch. You need the nutrients."

Terra sighed and nodded, but when Kurama left the room she got out of bed and headed toward the baths. She needed to feel clean again. Terra ran cool water and stood under it. It was like a blessing to her skin to feel the running water washing away the muggy mess of her body.

As she stepped out of the shower and put on her underwear, Terra caught sight of her reflection in the mirror. Without her contacts, her figure was blurry. A sudden wave of depression hit her. Coming closer to the mirror so she could see herself clearly, Terra took in the image of herself. She seemed so different from the girl she used to be. Her body was lean and toned and there was visible muscle where there used to be flab. It didn't seem like her at all. This wasn't the reflection she was used to. Still, there were signs that this was Terra, this wasn't some trick.

The scar from the demon attack was darker than the rest of her skin, wrapping from the small of her back to her belly button. Terra turned to the side for a better look. It had hardened into a scar fashioned for a warrior as her abs had toned, but there was no mistaking it. The scar was the same she had received almost a year ago.

Just above the scar, though, was a real sign of this being her body. Her first tattoo was scrawled across her ribcage. She was still amazed the words hadn't been mangled in the attack. In actuality, it almost looked as if the words had been placed there afterwards; they fit so nicely into one another. Terra ran her fingers over the words she tried had lived by for so long. Why survive when you can live, it read. After her friend committed suicide after high school, Terra got those words imprinted into her skin. She wanted to live. She was only surviving. She wanted to live.

She felt weak. Anger boiled in her for having gotten sick, for having fainted during training.

Before rushing out of the bathroom and back to her room, Terra pulled on a robe and stared at herself for another few moments. Nestled in the groove of her pelvis next to her right hip bone was Terra's second tattoo. She glanced to that area, covered by cloth. Another mark to prove this was her body, one she saw often. This is real, Terra thought, this is me.

When she reached her room, Terra threw on a pair of shorts. Kurama opened the door while she was still rummaging for a shirt.

"Pardon me," he said.

Before stepping out, Terra stopped him. "Oh, please. It's nothing you haven't seen before."

Kurama stayed still for a moment, but then chose to enter and place her tray of food next to her futon. "I see you took a shower. You should be in bed."

"I need to wash it first. I must have sweated three pounds into it."

"Still, rest and eat."

Terra pulled on a shirt, covering her scar and quote. Looking at the dish Kurama had prepared, her stomach churned. It looked delicious, but she couldn't find the appetite. "Sorry, I must be queasy from the fever."

"Eat," he commanded.

Terra sat and took a few quick bites of the food before standing up again. "I'm sorry," she said, still chewing, "I can't. I feel like shit right now and I really need to-," she cut off, not knowing how to explain. Grabbing her iPod, she headed out the door, but Kurama put his arm across the door, stopping her.

"Eat," he commanded again.

Terra ducked under his arm through the doorway, but before she could make it one step past the fame, Hiei was blocking her path. His sudden appearance startled her. He took a step forward forcing her to step back into the room.

"Eat," Hiei said darkly.

Shaken, Terra took a seat on the ground and slowly began eating her meal.

"Thank you for the assistance, Hiei," Kurama said smugly. Terra wondered what had gone on between them she had missed. Obviously something. Kurama wouldn't be smug to someone without an underlying taunt. Checking his watch, he shook his head. "I'm afraid I should be going. I'm on call tonight, so I have to make it back to town quickly." Kurama turned to Hiei, the same smug look on his face. "I'm putting her on bed rest until Yukina returns. I trust her judgment as to whether she can continue her training. Make sure she eats."

"Now I'm a babysitter," Hiei remarked with annoyance.

Terra glared at him. "I don't need someone looking after me," she protested.

"Obviously, you do," Kurama quipped. "You haven't been taking care of yourself, and because of that your body wasn't able to fight off a simple cold virus without shutting the rest of your body down. This is serious, Terra. I'm very serious. I'm prescribing you three days of food and sleep. Take the break."

Looking up at the two powerful demons, she knew she didn't have a choice in the matter.

X

"Where are you going?"

Terra jumped, her heart in her throat. Now that his energy wasn't crazy cold, he always seemed to come out of nowhere.

"Nowhere," she lied. Terra had her iPod with her and was heading to the dojo.

"Then go back to your room."

She groaned and turned to look at the demon. "I'm fine, honest." Hiei's red eyes glared at her until she begrudgingly went to the kitchen. "You can't yell at me for getting food. I'm supposed to be eating lots, says the doctor."

"You're supposed to be on bed rest," Hiei snipped, following her into the kitchen.

"Yeah, well, I'm going crazy in there."

"Hn." Hiei disappeared again, moving too quickly for her to see.

Terra rummaged for a snack. She wasn't really hungry, but she was bored enough food seemed like a decent option.

"Two more days," Terra muttered to herself. "Just two more days."


NOTES:

So, I'm happy to say now that I'm back writing this, my addiction to my own story is just as strong and posts should be coming fairly quickly, despite the fact I still have an essay to write and three finals to really study for.

Thanks erp for the review. I'm glad you liked it. I hope I've gotten back into the swing of things with the story and it doesn't seem disconnected from my time off writing it.